Contributed by Deane Gradous, Twin Cities consultant
By using appropriate headings in their reports, writers are more likely to address their readers’ needs for information. Organizing information under headings (Table 1) makes writing tasks easier and reports more complete.
Table 1. Headings for four types of reports
|Title–Be descriptive (consistent with a previous proposal, if any).
Purpose–State the purpose of the work in one or two clear sentences.
Background–Take the rationale from the original proposal and add background as the reader needs.
Objectives–List the questions to be answered, the avenues to be explored, the work to be completed,
Methods–Describe how the objectives will be achieved.
Materials–Estimate the material to be used or consumed for the work.
Timeline–Include milestones and, where appropriate, future plans.
Appendix–Attach copies of correspondence and other documents important to the reader of the work plan.
|Title–Be descriptive (consistent with the proposal and plan).
Purpose–State the purpose of the work in one or two clear sentences (consistent with the plan, or note changes).
Background–Tell the story behind the work. (The writer may
Objectives–List the questions answered, the avenues explored, the work completed, or the results achieved. Objectives must
Conclusions and recommendations–Include new learning and
Summary–Write this section last. It functions as an
Methods–Describe how the work was achieved. If different
Results and discussion–Include important results data and
References–Identify relevant documents, including background information.
Appendix–Include long tables of data and other documentation to support the achievement.
* Contains all the information needed to back up the results
|Group name, date, and time of meeting
Distribution list–Include team members’ names typed in bold. Add asterisks by the names of attendees.
Follow-up and action plans–Create a 3-column table listing action items. The first item is a reminder
Agenda–List topics discussed during the meeting.
Discussions, decisions, and assignments–List projects or topics in the same order as on the agenda and include the following:
1. Project status to date (background)
Next meeting–List tentative agenda items for the next meeting.
|Who went where, project #, and date of the trip
People contacted–Include names, titles, and phone numbers.
Purpose–State the purpose in one or two sentences. If two
Outcomes/Benefits–Describe the expected and unexpected outcomes.
Objectives–List questions answered or avenues explored. Objectives may be included in the Purpose section.
Conclusions and recommendations –Include major findings and
Background–Tell the story behind the trip. This section functions
Results and discussion–Report the important events and activities of the trip and your thinking about what transpired.
Summary–This section must be written last but may be inserted
Attachments–Include any materials or documents the hosts
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